Global Summit on the Future of Mechanical Engineering
2008 April 28
© 2008, Libertiny Financial LLC
After spending three days at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C. with world leaders in technology and engineering, I walked away with some high level insights into where the world is headed. Here’s my take:
The event consisted of presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions all with the goal of bringing together global experts in technology in order to identify trends during the next 20 years (by the year 2028).
To start us off, the Institute for Alternative Futures presented their research in order to introduce the topic. Click HERE for the PDF file of their research
Our overarching goal was to:
1. Identify major technology trends during the next 20 years
2. Identify cultural and business ramifications and opportunities from these trends
3. Design a series of “Grand Challenges” for the global technology community to accomplish during the next 20 years in order to address the societal issues that we predicted.
The key things that struck me:
The growth in population and the economies of Asia, India and Africa is astounding. America is expected to have a bit of growth and Europe is actually expected to shrink in both areas. The Middle East has so much money that they are now world leaders again (since the Ottoman Empire fell) in technology and major infrastructure programs. Arguable, China has some large programs too, but with the exception of the Three Gorges Dam, the train line to Tibet and their space program, growth in truly society-changing technology is currently in the hands of the folks in the UAE.
5. The Game Changer:
6. The other Game Changer:
What does all of this mean?
Although the scale of the problems is increasing non-linearly, they are the exact same problems that we face today. But, just like it’s easier to pay of personal debt during the early years of incurring the debt, it’s easier to develop and implement solutions to the above problems today then it will be 20 years from now. All it takes is the will of people throughout the world to do it.
1. Figure out how you can do your part to help find solutions to the problems listed above. Invest in companies that are working on solutions. Volunteer with organizations that are not only addressing the problems but can show measurable positive results. Encourage your children to gain a technology related college education--we’re going to need all the help that we can get.
2. If you live in a country where you can vote in free elections, choose your government officials carefully and vet them well by asking them the hard questions. They ought to have at least thought of a plan for how they will address these issues.